Category Archives: Phones

To Every Electronics Company In China

Dear Every Electronics Company In China,

I understand that you have trouble finding people to translate instruction manuals for your products into readable English.

I am willing to undertake this task. Whilst I do not speak nor read Chinese, I am willing to lake your partially translated manuals, which make little sense, and translate them in to correct English.

I work very cheaply, requiring only £12 per hour for my work. I realise that this is about 24 times what you normally pay, but if you want your manuals to be readable, it is a small price to pay.

Also, I will require one example of every product for which you require a manual.

Hope to hear from you soon,

 

Tony Blews

xxx

 

Facebook App Privacy Concerns Are Bullshit

There seems to be a lot of kerfuffle and whatnot about the privacy concerns of the Facebook Messenger App on Android phones going on at the moment. Mainly it seems to be fuelled by this piece of shitehawk “journalism” by the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-fiorella/the-insidiousness-of-face_b_4365645.html

Please bear in mind that The Huffington Post is owned by AOL, who have a long-standing mardy about Facebook.

So, what are the concerns? Well allegedly Facebook can spy on you constantly, use your phone to send text messages and make calls, yada yada yada be evil. Here is a screencap of the entire list (from that site – taken 13/01/2015)

hufpoand

Notice how it is in text format, and not a screencap. Now, there is a screencap of the current permissions (actually its two screencaps stitched together…

full perm list

Should you be scared that it can access your microphone and camera?

Firstly, due to the way Android handles permissions, you have to allow access to things all the time for an App to work. iOS does it differently, only requesting access as and when it is needed.  So on an Android device you have to agree in advance to let it use your camera, but on an iPhone you can opt to use the App but not let it access the camera. I know which model is better, but I am never, ever, EVER going to make any public statement that I agree with anything that Apple have done. Blame Bono for that.

Secondly, do you really know what all those permissions mean? No? Well I’m going to tell you. With pictures. Try not to fall asleep at the back!

Starting at the top…

huff1

  • “directly call phone numbers” – well you know that bit in the App where you can telephone people? Have a guess why it needs to do this.
  • “read phone status and identity” – well the two come bundled together. It has to know about your phone and whether ot not you are on a call or not just so that it doesn’t fire up and bombard you with voice calls from Dickhead Dave while you are trying to order a pizza.

huff2

I’ll lump all the above into one. The app (yeah bollocks to capitalisation now) allows you to send and revieve SMS/MMS messages. So it needs to be allowed to do just that.

huff3

You know how you want to do that chatty with live video and sound? Just try to work out why the app needs to use your camera and microphone.

huff4

Just like Facebook posts, messages say where you are. If you don’t like it, turn Locations off in your device settings.

huff5

You want to contact people don’t you? No? Oh just delete the app, get rid of Facebook entirely, and go and live in a cave. You could always use Google+.

Hang on, why does it read the call log? Maybe, just maybe, its so that when you start a new conversation it will prioritise those contact’s names in the list as you ham-fistly bash at the screen with your knuckle trying to spell N I C K.

huff6Really, have a guess on this one. Did you go with “so it knows who I am”? Yes? Well you’re not having a prize.

huff7

Want to save that pic of a dog in Darth Vader costume that Alan The Muppet just sent you? Well you’ll need this.

The same goes for if you want to send your home-made pornographic version of “The Wrong Trousers” to someone.

huff8

Do you want to connect Facebook to your Twitter, Instagram, Swarm, etc accounts?

huff9Right… so here we go…

  • “change network connectivity” – this basically allows the app to determine if you actually have a valid connection or not. Its a badly worded phrase in the Android permissions list really. Panic Not.
  • “download files without notifications” – Do you really want to have to agree to see every picture that you are sent?
  • “full network access” – It is a communications app. It will need it.
  • “receive data from internet” – How do you think message are received.
  • “view network connections/ view Wi-Fi connections” – bundled in with the above “change network connectivity”

huff10

Can we guess this one?

huff11

This is just so that Chatheads can piss you off by floating on your screen in the most inconvenient place possible.

huff12

  • “control vibration” – buzz your phone if it is on silent
  • “prevent tablet from sleeping” – keep the screen turned on if the app is active
  • “change your audio settings” – actually is should be called “check your audio settings”. It is used to determine whether your device buzzes or bings.

huff13

Well it does need to know if the contacts list is synced and up to date or not.

huff14

“install shortcuts” allows the app to put those really annoying “Chatheads” on your home screen,

and finally…

“send sticky broadcast” – this is where it all gets a bit complicated.

A “sticky broadcast” is a parcel of information concerning your identity, location. recent activity, blood pressure, IQ, heart rate, and whether or not you smell of almonds. It is broadcast to the CIA, MI5, Mossad, WASP, Interpol and the ISPF.

Or, it could just be a method of inter-process communtication.

So thats that. Nothing sinster going on at all. Whats more sinister is that Google track your every move and action, that you’ve agreed to this, and furthermore seem quite happy about it.

 

Every Mobile Phone I’ve Ever Owned

Here is a list of every mobile phone I’ve had since that that horrible day that I walked into Tern Hill Cellular Sales with too much money. Sometimes I’ve got the order wrong, because I’ve had a drink since then.

Motorola Personal Phone

motorola-personal-phone

Yes it really was called that. It was on Cellnet on the old ETACS analogue system. I actually had two of them, as the first had to be replaced withing a week after it started emitting smoke. The number was hard coded into the phone, which meant that a new phone had a new number.

It had no screen, so I had a list of who’s numbers were stored in the memory written on a disk label stuck on the back. There was no key lock, and calls cost 30p/50p per minute, so pocket dialling was an expensive mistake to make.

Motorola MR-1

motorola-mr1

This time on Orange. A bit of an improvement, having a screen and actually using a SIM card. I probably had about four of these, as I kept mine for a long time and bought others from friends as they upgraded – just so I had spare batteries.

Motorola c520

motorola-c520

Again on Orange, I got this one as part of a free upgrade. Finally something that could handle text messages. Not a bad phone for it’s time. I think I probably had for about a year.

Nokia 3110

Nokia-3310The phone that EVERYONE had, and I had about 6 over the years. All of them were on BT Cellnet. Somewhere I’ve still got a box of spare clip-on cases, some flashing LED keypads and the special Nokia Toolkit for repairing the on the rare occasion that they broke. Why six of them?  People would throw them away, and I’d harvest them for the batteries.

An interesting side note on this phone is that with the right cable and a bit of software you could send text messages with bogus numbers.

Apparently terrorists used them as bomb-triggers too (not mine!), and The Sun considered a 3310 the most dangerous phone ever made. Not all of them, just one particular phone which seemed to show up in every mobile based story (probably because their picture editor was a dickhead).

Mitsubishi Trium

mitsubishi-trium

The first phone I had that handled WAP. As I got it while I was ignoring computers, this phone was my only access to t’internet for ages. I seem to remember that it got broken falling out of the car charger, when the charging socket fell out.

Nokia 5110

nokia5110

I’m not even sure why I had one of these, considering that I still had some working 3310s left. Or why I had one with a clip-on Stoke City case.

Motorola v600

motorola-v600

Finally a camera phone! I won this one from some rubbish lads mag for suggesting that all the Big Brother contestants should be messily culled. I stopped using it for calls after the microphone broke, but with the correct set of cables, I used this phone to connect to t’internet with my new laptop. It was all downhill from there…

Sagem myG-5

Sagem-MY-G5 Another one that I’ve no idea why I bought. Maybe it just looked shiny.

 NEC e313

nec-313

It was a monstrous phone. The picture doesn’t really do it justice. I was like carrying a TV remote about. Still, the camera was ok and it did mobile internet and stuff. I still used the V600 for internet on my laptop.

Motorola A920

motorola-a920

Another massive phone. This one used the same connectors as the V600, meaning that I could use the same phone for everything.

Unknown WinCE Clamshell Phone

I have no idea what it was, apart from rubbish. It was locked to O2, but had real problems with data transfer. And ActiveSync wouldn’t work.

Sony Ericsson K750i

sony-k750i

Bought this one off a mate, and instantly realised why he was selling it. The camera lens was badly damaged and it had a habit of rebooting every hour or so. I took great pleasure in smashing it to bits.

 

Some Samsung Flip Thing

samsung_sgh-x460

I’m not sure what it was, but it looked like the one in the picture, didn’t do anything apart from calls, and only got used for work (until the SIM card got cancelled by Virgin for no reason). 

Amoi WP-S1 Skypephone

skype3phone

I’ve already waffled about it here, so I’ll not repeat myself. It still works and is currently acting as my alarm clock.

Sony Ericsson Walkphone W595

sony-w595

Not really a bad phone. I never used the music player on it though. I expired in a freak roller coaster accident in Blackpool (ok, it fell out of my pocket on the Mad Mouse).

Apple iPhone 3GS

iphone3gs

A steaming pile of horse-shit that shut itself down after a month, and shortly after that decided to leak acid all over my desk.

Samsung GT-E120

2012-11-18-21.05.36

A temporary phone bought while the iPhone problem was being fixed (by eventually chucking the worthless piece of donkey-vomit in the bin). I waffled about it here.

Samsung Galaxy Europa

samsung-europa

As described here. It is the phone I’m still using after two years, despite its many many flaws.

 

Currently I’ve got the Amoy Noodle Skypephone and the Samsung Europa. The girlfriend has the E1200 because she doesn’t like complicated phones, and its a happy sounding little thing just like her. I, by contrast, am a bloated waste of space (see Samsung Europa).

Most of the other phones survived in a box until I moved house earlier in the year. I threw them all away as the combined scrap value was less that a fiver. Don’t believe those adverts on the telly asking for your old phones.

I’m looking a getting a new phone very soon, and already have a plan for the Europa. Strangely it doen’t involve a very large hammer.

(Most of the pics on this page aren’t mine. And I’m too lazy to credit the sites they come from.)

 

Samsung GT-E1200

Well, the iPhone 3GS lasted a long time. About a month after getting it working on O2 it decided to switch off halfway though a call and then not come back on again. After a days faffing with it, I got it to return to life, only for it to expire again precisely 24 hours after it had first gone tits-up (and 48 hours after the OS had been upgraded).

So, faced with the choice of dealing with the Apple Support people (and paying £25 for no help at all), buying another phone to use on O2, or switching back to 3 and using the now-restored and fully working Samsung Galaxy Europa, I chose the latter.

But, like most of my plans, things didn’t go well. If you are using a pre-pay SIM, O2 won’t tell you the Porting Authorisation Code, or PAC (certainly not PAC Code!) for your number unless you call from that number or happen to know the exact balance that you have left. Neither are really feasible if you have a bricked phone and don’t know anyone else who uses O2.

After checking my impressive collection of old phones, I found that none of them worked with O2, so I set off to Tesco to buy the cheapest phone possible.

Hence, the £15 SIM-Free <a href="http://www additional reading.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/mobile-phones/bar/GT-E1200ZKABTU-spec”>Samsung GT-E1200:

2012-11-18-21.05.36

For less than the cost of something that costs more that £15, you get a phone with a mind boggling list of features:

  • Making and receiving calls
  • Text Messaging
  • Alarm clock and Stopwatch
  • A choice of a few pleasant ringtones and TWO background pictures
  • A game
  • Nothing else.

Wow! This must be the second worst phone in the world, after the VX-1?

No, actually. For some people it might be the ideal phone. Old people and young kids (neither of which should be allowed any where near the internet), people who want a second phone that only certain people know the number for (nothing nefarious, obviously, I was thinking of taxi drivers who want a number to give out to customers and not be bothered by random drunken calls at 4am).

Besides, I kind of like it. The ringtones and bleeps sound pleasant, and I’ve not charged it for about a week despite playing the one game on it a lot.

I’m still going to switch back to 3 for my main number sometime this week, and maybe use this one for work related stuff. That way the tax man can pay for it.

Or, just let the girlfriend have it after her extremely old Sagem phone bit the dust.

Samsung Galaxy Europa

I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy Europa from 3, to replace my old Sony Ericsson W595 which had become increasingly unreliable following a freak rollercoaster accident back in September.

The Europa, AKA the GT-I 5500 is an alleged smartphone, running Android 2.2. It cost me 50 quid, plus 15 quid pre-loaded on a SIM card. Not too bad, unless you want to keep your old number, in which case you end up with a spare SIM with 15 quid on it, which expires within one month.

One of the reasons, besides the obvious need of a phone replacement, that I bought the thing was my desire to replace my current “smartphone” combination of an old 3rd generation iPod and MiFi dongle thing. Carrying the pair of them around was a pain, considering the battery life of each, so I was looking for something about the same size that wouldn’t entail a pocket full of cables and mains adapters.

europa-ipod

As you can see, the Europa is smaller than the iPod, with a considerably smaller screen, so consequently the on-screen keyboard is far too small and fiddly for a normal sized human to use, let alone a giant ham-fisted oaf like me.

The Europa has a 2 mega-pixel camera, which is crap. Any more information about it would be superfluous.

The processor is woefully underpowered, and apps keep crashing. A particular problem is the WiFi system failing to work and the settings page just reporting “Error!”. Useful.

If by some arcane magic the Wifi system does work and the Europa is used as a mobile hotspot, the data rate is deplorable:

<img class="aligncenter" alt="" src="http://www.speedtest.net/result/1694956938 non prescription viagra.png” width=”300″ height=”135″ />Note that I was is Stafford at the time, which is considerably more than 50 miles from Morecambe. Hence I could not see the Chinese Synchonized Swimming Team practicing.

Also, using the phone as a hotspot causes you to fall foul of Three’s piss-awful censorship. Most URL shorteners seem to be blocked.

So it looks like I’ll be keeping the MiFi for a while yet. And, considering how ropey the phone is, (despite my hatred of Apple) the iPod too.

3 Mobile Huawei E220 USB Modem

In the past I bought a ‘phone that did proper internet access. I even reviewed it here and here!

Well, now I’ve gone and bought a 3 Mobile Internet dongle thing. Specifically, the Huawei E220.

3modem

So, what do you get for your 50 quid?

Apart from the device itself, the DVD style box contains a SIM card, a manual that I didn’t bother even opening, two USB cables and some padding that I didn’t bother to eat.

No installation CD? Nope. The clever little chappy installs all it needs from an built in memory stick type thingummy which Business pretend to be a CDROM. Take a not, USB device makers: This is the way forward.

One of the USB cables is a standard 6 inch one, which works ok but means that the modem is hanging about where I usually have my mouse (never having got used to the crappy touchpads that most laptops have). The other is a much longer affair with two Type A connectors at one end, just in case your computer can’t push enough power out from one socket. This is fairly useless to me, as the added cable length means the device needs the two plugs to be connected, and the two USB sockets on cheap mlb jerseys my Dell are on opposite sides of the case. It works great if I have my “media slice” connected, as that gives me 2 extra USB sockets cheap mlb jerseys on the back, but it also triples the weight of the machine, so I usually leave it to gather dust.

I’m using the long cable to connect to my telephone instead.

What you Rentabilidad, probably can’t tell from the photo, is that the sim card holder is held in place with sellotape. It won’t fall out during normal Spider use, but did pop out a few times while in my bag. Hence the classic British engineering fix.

So, how fast is it?

Firstly, here is what I got through my phone on a good day:


And here is what the new dongle gives me:

A bit faster, as you can see. I managed to get up to about 2900kbps by standing outside the house and getting a clear line of sight to the nearest transmitter, which is about 300 yards away.

With this “proper” internet modem connected, rather than the mobile phone, Three aren’t restricting what I can access. So now I can waste my time on b3ta, and won’t get an electronic telling off if I accidentally try and watch some young flibbertigibbet shaking her udders on YouTube.

So what does it cost to run?

Well, you have 3/Skype a choice: £10 for 1gb, £15 for 3gb or £25 for 7gb.

A nice range of prices for you there. Being a bit skint, I opted to only spash out a tenner, and my 1gb lasted a week.

Luckily, you can stick on as many addons as you have the money for, and don’t need to wait until with end of the cheap mlb jerseys month. Next time, however, I will be later getting the £25 top up (assuming that I get hold of some money).

I’m quite happy with it, currently. When I get the chance, I’m going to have a wander in to the countryside, and see how well the modem (and indeed the AMOI phone) function when quite far from a transmitter.

Amoi Skypephone – 4 months later

Last November, I bought a 3 Skypephone, AKA an AMOI WP-S1, AKA an AMOI 8512. My original review of it is here.

skype3phone
After five months of continuous Drive use, I’ve decided to take another look at the phone.

And it is in remarkably good shape, despite being dropped, splashed, almosted drowned, and generally abused. The magnet holding the battery cover in place hasn’t fallen off yet, which is unexpected. Some of the rubberised coating has become a bit worn, but thats not really a big issue.
Remarkably, neither the screen nor camera lens have suffered any damage at all. The buttons all still work, and the USB port has failed to go all loose and wonky.
Physically, it seems about as indestructable as my old Motorola V600 (but I haven’t thrown it at a wall yet – most likely due to not having anything to do with O2 these days).

Skype:

Well, yes. I’ve used it twice, and that was just to see if it worked. I only know one avid Skyper (who will admit to it, anyway), and I never bought it for the Skype functionality anyway. It works.

MSN:

It works now, after 3 finally got around to supporting it properly, but the app is a pain to use on the handset.

PC Connectivity:

To start with, the software seemed overly complicated and tedious. Why, I thought, couldn’t I just plug it in and use it like a USB memory stick? Well. After I found the MicroSD card taped inside the packaging (just as I was about to chuck all the needless cardboard into the recycling bin) and installed it, thats exactly how it wholesale NFL jerseys works. It’s just a pity that it won’t work that way with the internal memory.

MoDem:

This is the best thing about the phone. True, the connection speed is only 115.2kpbs 180kbps download / 43kbps upload at the moment, but wholesale nba jerseys that is double what I was getting through the internal modem on the laptop on a normal dial-up connection. Sadly, the modem now refuses to work when the AMOI’s drivers are installed, but that is hardly a big loss as it was just causing me to run up big phone bills at work.

Pretty much Tinnitus? everything i’ve tried is working over this connection, with the exception of the YouTube multi-uploader. I haven’t tried World of Warcraft yet, because I’d like to retain some of what little of a life I have left.
The connection speed may sound low, but its enough to watch videos without them stopping all the time.
3 do wholesale nfl jerseys have annoying policy concerning what they term as “adult” sites, though. You can’t access them. No chance. This is annoying as i used to use b3ta a lot, but now I can’t (apart from one day last month when their policy got relaxed – or got broken, more likely – for about 6 hours). Also, quite a few of my friends’ sites have been tagged as “adult”, as they are a sweary bunch of troublemakers.
All this talk of data transfer brings me on to probably the most important thing about a mobile phone…

Running costs:

Calls to normal numbers cost 12p per minute, with texts at 12p each. You can buy add-on bundles to make these cheaper, which I only tend to do for texts, as I try to not to ring many people (apart from taxis, pizza delivery places and pubs).
Data is charged at a quid per megabyte, which sounds expensive because it is. However, the internet add-on bundles can save you loads of money and cost 50p for a day, S?zleri £2.50 a week, or £5 a month.
I’m still not sure what the “fair use” data limits are for the weekly and monthly blocks, but daily seems to be about 100mb. Which isn’t bad.
I tend to Amoi stick on a load of daily blocks in one go, as its easy to exceed 100mb in a day (if, for example, you decide to watch all the Happy Tree Friends episodes whilst drunk), and you can move into the next day’s block without having to wait until midnight.
All in all, it cost me about £20 every three weeks.

So whats wrong with it?

The camera doesn’t have a light or a flash. <sarcasm>Oh shame</sarcasm>.
The microSD card was cunningly hidden in the depths of the packaging and nearly got binned. And doesn’t come with an adapter.
I can’t get the modem to work with the built-in bluetooth on my laptop, yet it works with an external dongle. Not really an issue, as anyone likely to want to connect a laptop to their phone will probably have a USB cable on them.
And thats it.

Verdict?

It is still a brilliant and cheap little phone, and works almost perfectly. I’d like to see a new version that does full mobile broadband without me having to carry an additional dongle, and maybe a future one will. I’ll upgrade to that when it comes out, but for now I can handle the slower speed. You should buy one now.
Oh, you want a rating? Right. Which 80s popsters had a song wholesale MLB jerseys called “System Addict”?
Thats right. Five Star.

Amoi WP-S1 3/Skype Phone

This week I got a bit drunk and Brownies bought a new phone, a 3 Skype phone. In reality, its an Amoi (no wok included) WP-S1, and this is what it looks like…

skype3phone
Snazzy, eh?

For £49 its not really a bad bit of wholesale jerseys kit. True, it is on the 3 network, but after being frigged about by O2 and Virgin over the last two weeks I’ll try any alternative.

Construction So, what does it do?

Well. It does all your normal phone crap, plus it allegedly automatically uses Skype when you want it to. I say allegedly as I can’t even get mine to log in using my Skype details. And 3’s usually unhelpful customer support have no idea what to do.(But at least they can’t beat the O2 monkey who asked me, twenty minutes into our cheap nfl jerseys conversation about why my GPRS had been cancelled, if I H? owned a mobile phone. No, Sherlock, I can process GSM signals in my head.)

Anyway, thats wholesale nfl jerseys not important. What can it do?

For me the big win is that you can use it as a modem and get ‘net access. True, its only about 116Kbps, but that better than I was getting from O2. The downside to this is that the software supplied completely screws up all your existing modem drivers. Not a big loss for most people, but bloody annoying nonetheless.

Sadly the internet service is somewhat restricted. Mail and Web services seem okay (with exceptions), but thats it. FTP is blocked, as are MSN Messenger (probably a good thing) cheap jerseys and no gaming stuff will work.

For cheap jerseys some reason, POP access to my gmail account won’t work, but I can still access the gmail website. Odd.

Access to sites like B3ta are blocked, but thats probably a good thing for me.

A big problem is Facebook. I was never a big fan of it (see elsewhere) until I got the phone. Now I’m on it all the time, mainly because you can access straight from the phone. This is my biggest U-turn since I suddenly decided that VW campers were indeed a bit cool.

The FTP thing is annoying, as I have to update these pages via FTP. I means that I have to go to the pub and use the WIFI machine. Like I needed an excuse.

So… ultimate verdict, is it any good?

Yup. Best phone i’ve had in ages.

Update: Yay! FTP / IM / Flickr uploader…. it all works now!